How this Maroons legend is improving school attendance
RUGBY LEAGUE: Queensland rugby league legend Petero Civoniceva, who is known for his huge on-field presence, has also left an enormous mark on St George State School, with students referring to him as 'Uncle Petero'.
During Civoniceva's visit to St George State School in 2018, health and physical education teacher Georgia Crouthers asked him about starting a program that rewarded students for 95per cent attendance and exceptional behaviour called "Petero's Peeps”.
Civoniceva was more than happy to oblige.
Throughout a five-week period, classroom teachers nominate two students who display such qualities, which is then sent to Civoniceva, who records a video with a quick word of inspiration to the students and then reads out all the names that have received a Petero's Peeps Award.
The video is then playedon Friday morning during the full school paradewith parents in attendance.
St George State School HPE teacher Dean Sullivan told the Beacon there had been huge improvements since Civoniceva started.
"It's more in the sense it gives to those students who are consistently well behaved a chance to be recognised,” Mr Sullivan said.
"We see a lot of our who students who aren't showing desirable behaviour see those students who are being rewarded and want that themselves and in turn we see a lot of that low-level behaviour dissipate.”
Mr Sullivan said having a familiar face like Civoniceva's made a huge difference to the kids.
"Having Petero motivating the kids means everything to them, the kids call him 'Uncle Petero', especially amongst our young indigenous students, that is just such a big honour to be called that,” he said.
"If you had an individual that the kids didn't know then there would be no emotional connection but with someone they know, albeit a family member or someone like a sports personality, then the message gets through a lot better.
"Especially too because all the kids are footy mad, they love it.”
Students receive a small prize, usually a ball or keyring, and a laminated certificate with Petero's Peeps on it.
They also go in the draw to win the grand prize at the end of the year, usually a football or jersey.